Weekend Music Ideas: August 11, 2017

James Taylor, Gov't Mule, Joe Bonamassa, Ann Wilson and more.


Guitar heroes are lining up in town the next couple of days. Most people probably don’t think of that label when it comes to James Taylor, but he’s a super acoustic player, and he’ll be joined by another guitar great in slide specialist Bonnie Raitt at Fenway Park on Friday. More people will likely flock to the ballpark to hear Taylor and Raitt’s timeless songs and voices – and everyone wins on any of those counts.

On the other hand, blues-rock heavyweights deliver a one-two guitar punch at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion. Warren Haynes provided six-string sparks to the Allman Brothers Band for a quarter century and he’s done the same for nearly as long to his group Gov’t Mule, which has continued to hone both its songwriting and jam-savvy chemistry in recent years. When the Mule hits the Pavilion on Friday, look for some collaboration with opening act Galactic as well as possible nods to the Allmans (though the two bands instead leaned on Grateful Dead classics to honor the 22nd anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death in Maine on Wednesday). Saturday brings the stylish guitar hotshot Joe Bonamassa (pictured) to the Pavilion with a band that includes a horn section and longtime David Letterman late-night drummer Anton Fig; the PBS-approved Bonamassa pumps new life into a range of blue stylings, and has been spicing up shows with covers from B.B. King to Led Zeppelin as well.

The Rockport Jazz Festival deals its own back-to-back standouts at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, on Friday with Panamanian piano ace Danilo Perez (revisiting his 20-year-old Thelonious Monk tribute Panamonk in his trio with Ben Street and Lee Fish) and on Saturday with hometown heroine Paula Cole, who’ll focus on jazz ballads and standards. And on Friday at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, N.H., you can catch a duo with the great New Orleans singer Aaron Neville.

Three bands of great local musicians under the auspices of the Boston Rock Opera also pay tribute to David Bowie, Prince and George Michael in an ambitious Friday program called the Hereafter Party at Somerville’s Once Ballroom. Participants in the event to benefit the Arlington-based Children’s Room (which provides grief support for families) are expected to include Count Zero’s Peter Moore, Sidewalk Driver’s Tad McKitterick, Petty Morals’ Tai Heatley and Jess Collins, Jenny Dee, Gene Dante, Parlour Bells’ Goddamn Glenn and Either/Orchestra’s Russ Gershon. Here’s a rehearsal for the night’s Bowie tribute band called Heaven’s in Here.

If you’re up for a trip to the Berkshires on Saturday, My Morning Jacket takes the field at MASS MoCA in North Adams (if you’re headed to that, make sure you go early enough to tour the museum that also hosts Solid Sound and FreshGrass).  And Sunday serves a few concert options. Country-rocker Dwight Yoakam plays Indian Ranch that afternoon, while singer Ann Wilson of Heart (touring without sister Nancy after a family rift) performs at Lynn Auditorium and local-rock impresario Bob Colby toasts his 65th birthday and retires from promoting with a Once Ballroom show that includes Thalia Zedek, the Wrong Shapes, Rumble winner Carissa Johnson (solo) and Randy Black & the Heathcroppers.

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